Following the June 1 deadline for filing nomination papers, the field of candidates for the governor’s race and Wisconsin Legislature (as well as other statewide offices) is set, barring any unexpected glitches or challenges to nomination papers. Despite a substantial number of unopposed incumbent state legislators (see below), a near-record thirty lawmakers did not seek re-election. This guarantees that the Legislature will have many new faces sworn in in January.
This an ideal time for school leaders to begin building relationships with those likely to be members of the new crop of lawmakers as well as incumbents, especially those in seats where those incumbents are certain or highly likely to be re-elected. In areas where there are contested legislative races, the Capitol Watch column in June-July issue of the Wisconsin School News provides tips for school leaders on how to host a candidate forum. You can access that column here.
In the governor’s race, incumbent Tony Evers is the only candidate on the Democratic side. In November, he will face the winner of the August 9 Republican primary among four main candidates: former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch; former U.S. Marine and consulting business owner Kevin Nicholson; State Rep. Tim Ramthun (R-Campbellsport), a Kewaskum school board member (Board Clerk) and a member of the Assembly Education Committee; and construction company owner Tim Michels.
Candidates for the Legislature will be running in seats with new, ten-year legislative boundaries set by the state Supreme Court (see previous blog post). Republicans currently hold a 61-38 majority in the Assembly and a 21-12 majority in the Senate.
Perhaps reflecting the new maps and perhaps reflecting party enthusiasm, in twelve of the seventeen state Senate races on the November ballot, there will be both a Democratic and a Republican candidate vying for the seat. In the remaining five seats, the Democrats did not field a candidate.
In eighty-three of the ninety-nine state Assembly races, there will both a Democratic and a Republican candidate contesting the seat in November. In fourteen races, the Democrats did not field a candidate. Republicans did not field a candidate in just two seats.
In all, two incumbent GOP senators and seven incumbent GOP representatives are facing primary challenges. And in an unusual twist, both Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) have drawn primary opponents.
While some incumbent lawmakers are facing primary challenges, the following incumbent legislators do not have either primary or general election challengers and are running unopposed:
- John Jagler (Republican) – SD-13
- Chris Kapenga (Republican) – SD-33
- Ron Tusler (Republican) – AD-3 (Incumbent)
- Sylvia Ortiz-Velez (Democrat) – AD-8 (Incumbent)
- Dora Drake (Democrat)– AD-11 (Incumbent)
- LaKeisha Myers (Democrat)– AD-12 (Incumbent)
- Dave Maxey (Republican)– AD-15 (New-Open Seat)
- Kalan Haywood (Democrat)– AD-16 (Incumbent)
- Evan Goyke (Democrat)– AD-18 (Incumbent)
- Ryan Clancy (Democrat)– AD-19 (New-Open Seat)
- Paul Tittl (Republican) – AD-25 (Incumbent)
- Barbara Dittrich (Republican) – AD-38 (Incumbent)
- Mark Born (Republican) – AD-39 (Incumbent)
- Alex Dallman (Republican) – AD-41 (Incumbent)
- Samba Baldeh (Democrat) – AD-48 (Incumbent)
- Michael Schraa (Republican) – AD-53 (Incumbent)
- David Armstrong (Republican)– AD-75 (New-Open Seat)
- Francesca Hong (Democrat) – AD-76 (Incumbent)
- Shelia Stubbs (Democrat)– AD-77 (Incumbent)
- John Spiros (Republican) – AD-86 (Incumbent)
- Scott Allen (Republican) – AD-97 (Incumbent)